Call to turn ‘temporary’ car park in Airlie Beach into public parkland
CALL TO TURN CAR PARK INTO PARKLAND
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council will continue to derive revenue from the lagoon car park in Airlie Beach despite calls to turn the area into public parkland.
At yesterday’s ordinary Council meeting in Bowen, CEO Scott Waters said Council was “extremely cognisant” of the importance of the area to the community and he praised the community group Save Our Foreshore (SOF), for their efforts to retain this significant piece of land for public use.
“[However] the car park delivers a steady stream of revenue, which helps offset the maintenance of key infrastructure such as the Airlie Lagoon,” he said. Mr Waters’ comments were made in response to a letter from SOF offering practical support for the carpark to be turned into a multi-use park, complementing and completing the unique green foreshore of Airlie Beach.
SOF president Suzette Pelt said the area had been a “temporary” carpark for the best part of 30 years, with two high profile “land grabs” within the last decade.
In 2004, Whitsunday residents fought against the FKP Outrigger proposal, collecting thousands of signatures on a petition and holding a big protest march through Airlie Beach.
The land was “saved” from development but in 2011 it again became the subject of controversy.
Although changes in government meant the proposals never went ahead, Ms Pelt said it was obvious that for as long as it remained a temporary carpark, instead of being landscaped to reflect its public recreation reserve status, the area would continue to be the subject of ”opportunistic commercial land grabs”.
She said SOF had received several offers from local businesses and individuals to provide equipment, goods, services and labour, to assist with the conversion, now possible thanks to the addition of extra parking spaces at the new Airlie Beach Woolworths store.
Mr Waters thanked the community for this offer but said there were no current plans to redevelop the area.
Ms Pelt said SOF was disappointed with this response.
“We’re not entirely satisfied that Council is justified in holding back on turning this into parkland so we’ll be looking at having further discussions with them on all the options available,” she said.
PROTECTING PUBLIC LAND: Save Our Foreshore members Kerry McCourt, Suzette Pelt, Megan Wallis, Eric Oliver, Roz Jennings, Harry Major, Heather Marshall, Sandra Hardy, Natasha Jochim, Robina Mealey, Adrian O'Dea, Andrew Marshall, Adrian Pelt, Connie Riley, Lester Riley, Sue Dickinson, Rory McCourt, Faye Chapman, Karen Cridland, Steve Halter, Peter Payne and Elmer Ten-Haken, say the time has come to return the 'temporary' car park in Airlie Beach to public parkland.